Using digital technology to enhance sustainable farming systems
Automated soil moisture probes, salinity and depth sensors with data transfer units were installed to measure the depth of the water table, soil moisture levels, soil salinity levels and environmental conditions across the project’s three sites.
The Meningie East Field Healthy Soils Group, supported by the Coorong Tatiara Landcare Assistance Program, is the recipient of the inaugural $40,000 nbn™ Sustainable Agriculture Landcare Grant. The Group’s project uses automated monitoring equipment to measure the depth of the water table, soil moisture levels, soil salinity levels and environmental conditions across three sites in South Australia’s Upper Southeast region.
Data and support information in easy to understand formats, will be automatically generated every 15 minutes. Landholders will learn how to interpret and access the data and the interactions between the water table level, soil moisture, salinity levels and weather conditions.
A community workshop will take place to enhance understanding of dryland salinity risks and improve decision making on managing its potential impacts on native vegetation, pastures and crops. This will ensure that farmers can implement efficient management strategies in high-risk years, while maintaining profitability in low risk years.
“Access in real-time to this collated information will result in improved decision-making around crop and pasture management and increased levels of groundcover on high-risk soils”, said Felicity Turner, Facilitator for the Meningie East Field Healthy Soils Group.
Approximately 80 farmers from across the Coorong District Council region impacted by dryland salinity, as well as farmers in the adjacent recharge areas will be directly involved with this project. The types of farm enterprises that will benefit include broad acre cropping, livestock production and dairy farming. In addition to the participating sites, the online platform will be publicly available for anyone to view.
Mrs Turner said, “The use of this technology and the nbn™ network is vital to this project as it will provide quick access from any location to information that can be readily used to drive decisions.”
To enhance farmer education, the knowledge gained from the productivity, environmental and social outcomes of this project will be shared across national farming networks by leveraging the nbn™.